on the tip of the
newly sprouted bamboo…
a baby sparrow
its hungry beak gaping wide
the black hole of parenthood
living in harmony–
the sparrow has
feeding it seeds and insects
keeping the area clean
while I watch
he’s off to make a living alone…
wings strengthen in wind and rain
toughing out the winter chill
after rain, a gang war
strident songs in the hedgerows
nature’s morning assembly
are the sparrows too
having a private party?
supping on sweet, scented dew
feasting on seeds and insects
don’t let the plum blossom guard
cut your tongues…
return to the young bamboo
and the joys of parenthood
Kobayashi Issa (Tr. David G. Lanoue) Kim M. Russell, 11th October 2019
My response to Carpe Diem #1761 Sparrows
This month Carpe Diem is celebrating its seventh anniversary with Japanese poetry about small creatures. Today it’s the sparrow, about which a lot of haiku have been written, especially by Kobayashi Issa.
Our challenge is to create a Junicho: a renga of 12 stanzas, from six given haiku written by Issa, by adding two-lined stanzas (approx. 7-7 syllables).
This will be my last post while I spend time with my daughter and grandson, who will arrive tomorrow and stay for a week. I’ll be writing and posting again the week after.
* Issa alludes to an old Japanese fairy tale in which a mean old woman cut a sparrow’s tongue with scissors because the sparrow pecked at her starch. Here, Issa warns the chirping sparrows that their tongues might be in similar jeopardy, hinting that the guard is a mean old grouch.